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Arts & Culture

GOB Squad wows audience with artistic, visual lecture

Graduate production seminar invites guests to give performances, inspire creativity in students

By
Contributing Writer
Friday, October 30, 2015

“The visitors give students new ways of thinking, and they show new possibilities of performing with technology,” said Todd Winkler, professor of music and co-director of the MEME PhD program.

GOB Squad, an internationally acclaimed British-German art collective, critiques and parodies pop culture and contemporary locations and concepts. The collective went through a catalogue of its work in MUSC 2270B: “Performance in a Virtual World” Wednesday night.

The class of 13 students — taught by Kym Moore, associate professor of TAPS, and Todd Winkler, professor of music and co-director of the Multimedia and Electronic Music Experiments PhD program — explores technology in the context of live performance.

Winkler first discovered GOB Squad 13 years ago and has been fascinated by its work ever since. He said it was “incredible” to finally get the collective to come to Brown.

During the lecture, GOB Squad showed the class short clips and offered associated explanations of the history of the collective from its inception to the present.

The significance of place emerged as a common theme throughout the videos. Place “is one of the collaborators in the work,” said Simon Will, a member of GOB Squad. A place is chosen first, and a storyline is fit to it, rather than vice-versa, he said.

GOB Squad likes to create works that encourage the audience to find the meaning rather than be shown it in the video, Will said. But sometimes there is no meaning to find, as the work is just visual — it is all up to the audience to determine, he said.

The class includes graduate students from the Trinity MFA directing program, MEME,  Literary Arts and Playwriting, Winkler said, adding that there are also a few undergraduate seniors enrolled. The students and other audience members were very engaged in the performance, he said.

This marks the second year that Winkler and Moore have taught the class together. “We bring our own knowledge and experience to the class from our different perspectives, and the visitors give students new ways of thinking, and they show new possibilities of performing with technology,” Winkler said.

GOB Squad was not the first guest to visit the seminar this semester. Sara Brown, a set designer, and Mark Coniglio — a composer, programmer, video artist and author of the popular live video processing program Isadora — have already lectured, Winkler said.

Winkler and Moore both expressed excitement for the future guests to the seminar this semester. Cloud Eye Control, another art collective, will premiere its latest work in the class in mid-November.

The class will show its final collaborative projects Dec. 12 in Grant Auditorium in a production open to the public.

GOB Squad’s illustrated lecture was sponsored by the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, the Department of Music and the Office of the Associate Vice Provost for the Arts.

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